If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious, non-meaty way to get some iron and protein in your system, then look no further than this Rajma Masala also known as Lal Lobia or Red Kidney Bean Curry.
I started developing this recipe shortly after Eid-ul-Adha a few years back. I don’t know about you guys, but I need some serious recovery after the all-meat-all-the-time BBQ extravaganza that is Eid-ul-Adha. Copious amounts of Haleem and Mutton Tikka are made and consumed in my house.
Oh, and I guess the guests eat some too.
Considering that I’d probably consumed enough red meat to raise my cholesterol levels to the “Whoa there!” levels, I thought a bit of meat detox was in order. I still needed to get some iron in, so I thought this Rajma Masala would be just right.
It is abso-friggin-lutely just right.
Rajma Masala for Healthier Family Meals
This dish is great for those who are looking to eat a bit healthier. While it is NOT suitable for those on low carb diets, it’s an excellent option for people who are looking to maintain a healthy weight and eat wholesome food.
Red kidney beans are slow release carbs, they are high in fiber and rank very low on the Glycemic Index, so they’re great for people with type 2 diabetes. This Rajma Masala recipe is vegan friendly and gluten-free so it’s great for potlucks and gatherings of people with different eating preferences.
But even though it’s healthy, there’s something about this recipe that brings it to “comfort food” level for me. If you’re not worried about the additional carbs, I highly recommend serving this Rajma Masala with plain white rice. White rice acts like the perfect blank canvas to really showcase the flavors (and colors!) of this dish.
I really, really wanted to shoot a picture of this with rice, but, um, my family kinda goes nutso for Rajma Masala with rice and what you’re actually seeing is kinda just the leftovers.
*Hides face in shame*
If You’re Using Canned Red Kidney Beans
Don’t panic, the reason for the extra long prep time for this recipe is because you need to soak the beans overnight before cooking. I recommend at least seven hours or so – the longer you soak them, the better they cook. However, if you haven’t planned ahead (or you did plan way, way ahead and stockpiled on canned red kidney beans due to COVID-19 ) you can use canned red kidney beans.
Yes, you can can!
Okay, that was corny. I’ll stop now.
If you’re using canned beans, make sure you DRAIN and RINSE them to get rid of excess starch and salts. You might still have some salt left over in the beans, so use half as much salt as you normally would, then taste and adjust when it’s done.
You also won’t need to use a pressure cooker at all, so, using a regular saucepan or pot, start from step 2 in the instructions where it says to heat the oil and the cumin. Add the beans in where it says to in the recipe, but instead of pressure cooking them, just gently fry them a bit with the masala for 30 seconds or so, then add as much water as you need for the gravy. Stir to incorporate, cover it up, bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for five minutes or so to let the flavors infuse.
Keep checking on the beans though, and turn off the heat if they get too soft. You don’t want them to turn into total mush.
I mean, it’d be TASTY mush, but it’s not SUPPOSED to be mushy, and, generally speaking, one does not like unanticipated mush.
It’s just unseemly.
Some ideas for Rajma Masala Leftovers
Oh, and one thing you can do with leftovers of this dish (besides struggling to find a dish small enough for them so you can take a picture for your blog because your family ate everything else) is that you can make a sandwich with them!
I know it sounds really weird, but I seriously love making messy sandwiches or wraps with the leftovers. Is anyone with me on this or are you all looking at your screen thinking, “this chica is crazy, who uses red kidney beans in a sandwich?” Well, maybe you don’t use the word “chica” because it’s not 1995, but, y’all don’t think I’m crazy, right?
Will you just try it in a sandwich or a wrap please before you start questioning my sanity? Listen, if Chipotle can make a black bean burrito and make it taste UH-MAZING, I can come up with a Rajma Masala wrap that tastes BANGIN’. Okay?
Make this for dinner this week and let me know what you think!
Rajma Masala / Lal Lobia (Red Kidney Beans Curry)
Rajma Masala is a wholesome and delicious family meal. Great for diabetics, vegan friendly and gluten free, this meal has something for everyone.
- 1 cup Red Kidney Beans
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 250 g onions (~2 medium 1 small) chopped finely
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1/4 cup canned tomato puree (if using fresh tomatoes, you'll need about a cup)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 green chili whole
- chat masala (optional, to taste)
- garam masala (optional, to taste)
- coriander leaves handful (for garnish)
Wash and soak 1 cup kidney beans in 6 cups water overnight
Heat pressure cooker on a medium-low flame and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds.
When cumin seeds start to crackle and brown, add the onions and fry on medium heat, stirring constantly until they start to change color.
Decrease to medium-low, add ginger paste and garlic paste and fry until masala is light golden.
Add tomato puree, fry until oil separates.
Add salt, red chili powder, turmeric and coriander. Fry for about 15 seconds or so, stirring to keep the dry spices from burning. If they start to stick, immediately move on to the next step.
Add the kidney beans with the water that they soaked in and a whole green chili. Stir to incorporate. Pressure cook on medium heat until kidney beans are cooked through. (Cooking time will vary based on the altitude of the area you live in. In Islamabad, it takes about 30 minutes.)
Add more water as needed for the gravy. For rice, my family prefers a looser curry with more gravy and with roti, we prefer a thicker gravy with less water.
Increase flame to bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes or so to let the flavors infuse.
Taste masala. If desired, add chat masala and/or garam masala for some spiciness and heat. My family typically doesn't need this, but if you want to go for something more "chat patta," give it a try.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
If using canned beans, do not soak beans and do not use a pressure cooker. Using a regular saucepan or pot, start from step 2. Add the beans in where it says to in the recipe, but instead of pressure cooking them, just gently fry them a bit with the masala for 30 seconds or so, then add as much water as you need for the gravy. Stir to incorporate, cover it up, bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for five minutes or so to let the flavors infuse.